Ann Peachman Stewart’s writing passion sparked by caring for the elderly

Today I welcome writer Ann Peachman Stewart. She used her passion for the elderly and their families to find her writing niche. Welcome, Ann. let’s start out with a bit about your writing journey.

In 2007, my world turned upside down. Although my husband had suffered from worsening heart disease for several years before that, it wasn’t until the week he died that I realized I was going to lose him. I was 53, working full-time, one of my three children still at home and in the throes of grief. Nothing about my life made sense.

I decided to do what all the experts say not to—I made a major life change. I started a two-year course with the Christian Writer’s Guild. I’d always written and wanted to pursue it more, but life got in the way. The course changed me, and during the second year, I discovered I could write fiction, which blew me away. I went on to complete two more courses with them and had the input of amazing authors. I published articles, started a blog, wrote a novel, went to conferences, and continually worked to become a better writer.

This year has been another “turn my world upside down” year. Besides the pandemic, which has turned everyone’s world upside down, I retired. Three people who were special to me died of COVID-19. I finally started my website and moved my blog there. I’m transitioning my role from Advocate (my job) to supporting and advocating online. I also plan, this fall, to plot my next novel and begin to write it (again!)

Last week I officially retired from my job. I look forward to more time to write as well.

How did eldercare become your passion?

The short answer is: through working with them. In the 21 years I worked with elderly, I met wonderful people who changed me forever, bitter individuals who taught me how not to respond to life circumstances and many “characters” who generated great stories and taught me to laugh. I had many positions, but my title in the last years was Advocate. I supported the care partners who worked tirelessly to care for the elderly, their families and the elderly themselves.

I saw a gap. My residence had always esteemed the elderly. In the last several years they’d learned to respect and elevate the position of the care partners who looked after them. But the families…Those of us who worked as Advocates supported the families through admission to palliative care and death, but most homes didn’t have advocates or something similar. Families experienced unnecessary stress because of a lack of support. It became my dream to bring my blog to a place where I can support a wider audience.

This is so wonderful. Both of my parents had to transition to care facilities. Dad is gone but mom is now in a skilled care facility. With the pandemic, it makes things so much more difficult for caregivers. I so appreciate you.

Now let’s talk about your writing. What is your greatest writing challenge?

Right now, it’s SEO, search engine optimization. How to find my audience and have them find me? I’m trying to learn without spending more money, as setting up the web site was an investment. Second would be actually getting paid to write. Everything on the blog is free but I’m trying to submit more articles. Like many writers, I shy from marketing. Trying to push myself out of that comfort zone at least once each week.

I can so relate to the difficulty of marketing. I find it so much easier to help others. You have a passion in a specific niche. May God bless your search.

What inspired you to write the book you just finished?

The Trouble With Mom explores the journey of a dysfunctional family when their strong, choleric mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The protagonist, Marg always struggled with feelings of insecurity when it came to her relationship with her mother, but now found herself at odds with her siblings, her husband, and her daughter. While looking through paperwork at her mother’s house, Marg discovered the missing piece which explained everything and gave her insight into the trouble with Mom.

The families I worked with provided my inspiration. Most had some relationship problems before they became caregivers and the stresses of that journey exacerbated it. Fear made them angry and entitled, worry caused them to fight among themselves. Through developing a trusting relationship, I was able to support them and allay their worries and fears, but what about those families who had no advocate? That thought was my inspiration. My book is not published. YET.

Sounds like a great premise. And there are a lot of boomers out there in this situation. I look forward to reading it when it comes out.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

In grade three I realized I could write (and I couldn’t do math!) but sometime during that first course with Christian Writer’s Guild, I caught a vision. I could write, be published, and make a difference. Wow!

I took that course. I understand the feeling.

Is there a favorite verse that resonates with you?

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I believe God plans to use me, and that’s incredibly exciting!

Definitely!

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I love Christian fiction. When my church library closed with the pandemic I was bereft for several weeks until I discovered how to get free audiobooks online. Now I can do my housework and read at the same time! I learn from other authors and hopefully, it helps me improve my craft.

I’m about to make the leap to listening to audiobooks myself. Everyone I know who have loved the experience.

Now please tell us about your blog.

Started in 2012, Small Miracles seeks to provide support to those who care for elders. Do you give hands-on care? Are you a professional caregiver? Are you family of someone living in a care setting? Or perhaps you volunteer or have a friend you visit occasionally? Every one of these scenarios is a “care partner”—part of the team who cares for that person. My mission, through the blog, is to provide education, support, and resources to support you.

The name, Small Miracles, came from my belief that although the journey of the care partner is difficult, God supplies small miracles along the way to give us joy, if we look for them.

More about Ann:

As someone who worked among the elderly for 21 years, Ann Peachman Stewart developed a passion for respectful eldercare which provides purpose and growth to the end of life. In that time, she gathered a treasury of experiences and stories, some of which play out in the lives of her characters. In supporting families as they take on the role of caring for an elder, Ann empathizes with their confusion and fear and how it manifests. Dysfunctional families can become more so and relationships may become strained. She reaches deep to find both compassion and the ability to have difficult conversations. Her sideways sense of humor keeps her sane and she brings the richness of these experiences to her novel and blog.

Ann, writing from a Christian perspective, recognizes that people of faith, like other humans, sometimes fail when facing a crisis. She strives to bring authenticity to her characters as they stumble, learn, and grow.

Ann Peachman Stewart began her career with no education in this field but later obtained her Certificate in Gerontology with Ryerson University. A life-long learner, she completed the Apprentice, Journeyman and Craftsman courses with The Christian Writer’s Guild. She won awards for her fiction and non-fiction writing through Florida Christian Writer’s Conference and has been a Word Weaver’s president since 2011. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and is owned by a dog named Teddy.

Visit Ann on social media.

Facebook Author Page:

https://www.facebook.com/annpeachmanstewart.author/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/annpeachmanstewart/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/writeforhim

Linkdin:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ann-peachman-stewart-356410a3/

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.ca/annpeachmanstewart/boards/

Website:

https://smallmiracles.online

 

Ann is doing a very special give away for September. A stress reliever box valued at $20. Click on the link below and refer a friend for another chance. Click the link in her social media list above to follow Small Miracle of you are interested in her eldercare help.

https://smallmiracles.online/win-a-stress-reliever-box-in-september/

 

 

How adding smell and taste to a manuscript can draw a reader deeper

One of the hardest things at times to describe in a novel is the sense of taste and smell. They are probably the least mentioned for that very reason. We may say it was a delicious meal of roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Or the stench was overwhelming in the closed-off room. We leave a lot to the reader’s imagination. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  We all have our ideas of what that roast tasted like and what constitutes a rank smell.

Taste

We better serve our readers when we can create the smell on the page. It helps them go deeper into our stories. Let’s take these two examples and see what we can do. (When I say we, I am expecting some of you to add your own creation in the comments.)

The meal mentioned above seems pretty common, and delicious is a relative term. I do not find anything delicious about Jalapeno peppers so if they were in the mash potatoes, I would disagree 😊. If the meal is essential to creating your story world or to revealing something about your characters, you need more than delicious.

What does this delicious roast taste like? Taste includes texture.

The Dr. Pepper marinate gave the melt-in-your-mouth pork roast a touch of sweetness. Betty’s mash potatoes reminded Leo of Ma’s home cooking, just a few lumps, and extra pepper. He’d never had green beans laced with bits of bacon, but the flavor made him scoop out another serving. Betty’s food erased the last ten years of loneliness with a meal laced with memories of his childhood.

Okay, not great but you get the point. Texture was added with lumpy potatoes. For Leo that made them delicious because his mother’s always had lumps. Can you see how I tried to give you a bit about Betty’s character? She doesn’t cook with wine, rather soft drinks. Cooking is her love language for sure.

How would you show the reader the delicious meal? Add it to the comments.

Let’s look at the smell reference now.

The overwhelming stench in a room could be anything from stinky shoes to a corpse. The sense of smell is often described with similes.

Jeffrey’s socks would stand like sentinels after he’d worn them for two weeks. Mother used tongs to capture the pair and marched the offending objects to the trash. Her other hand covered her mouth while she made retching noises.  My brother swore his favorite football team did better if he never changed his socks. And I swore if I had to sleep one more night breathing in the scent of raw sewer I would toss his bed out the window with him in it.

Again not great, but you get my point. Can you smell the socks?

Now it’s your turn to paint a scene to describe an overwhelming stench coming from a closed-off room.

We don’t want to fall into purple prose, overwriting descriptions. There are moments where the senses of taste and smell are important in crafting your story. If you understand your character and your setting, then you’ll know which of the five senses will best show the scene to the reader.

In the taste example, we see Leo as a lonely man who loved his childhood. And as I said it appears Betty’s love language is cooking. These could be the beginning of a romantic connection or a mother-son relationship. Food would play a big part in this story no matter what genre it is because I have given it as a connection between these characters.

In the smell example, Jeffrey is superstitious and oblivious to the grief it is causing his family. His long-suffering brother is at his wits’ end. I’d like to know what other ways these brothers are different. Is he the long-suffering younger brother or the patient older brother? This appears to be a smell example for the moment, but in a YA book stinky feet could be referenced throughout the story.

Okay, share your rewrites with me in the comments or post a favorite sensory description from a favorite book or a novel you’ve written.

I’d love to see your examples and it’s a great way to wake up your brain for your writing projects.

 

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A peek at Sherri Stewart’s newest work and a giveaway

Sherri Stewart is my special guest today. Like me, she is a Jubilee Writer. One who started her career later in life. I am so encouraged by her life message and her newest release.

Welcome, Sherri. I always like to start out these interviews learning about my guest’s writing journey.

I came to writing late in life, but my publisher has been helpful in keeping her writers busy writing for new series and collections. I’ve had a lot of careers: French teacher, Principal, Flight Attendant, and Immigration Attorney, which inform my writing a great deal. Word Weavers International opened my eyes to the world of writing and helped me improve. Now I run a freelance editing business and have too much work since March when the pandemic began. I guess there are a lot of writers who dusted off old projects during the last five months.

As busy as you are you’ve managed to get another of your own projects done. Tell us a bit about it.

The Promise Keeper is a romance novella that will also be part of a Christmas collection. The common theme is “Misstletoe,” missed chances. Readers who enjoyed Serendipity, An Affair to Remember, and Sleepless in Seattle will like this book.

I’m intrigued. I loved those movies.

All writers do research on some level to bring realism to their work. How do you research your books?

First, I read every book I can find on the period and place in which the book takes place. I watch every documentary on Prime and on YouTube. There’s a goldmine of information on YouTube. So for my latest release, The Promise Keeper, the characters meet in London at an Eagles’ concert, so I bought tickets to their concert at Wembley Stadium, and if the characters eat at a specific restaurant, I eat at the restaurant—even order the same food. I walk the streets to get a feel for the architecture, the atmosphere, the smells, etc. Sadly, because of the COVID virus, I had to cancel my trip to the UK. But I’ve been studying the Welsh language for the last six months, and I’ve watched every travel film I could find on Wales. Fortunately, some of the book took place in Atlanta so we were able to visit without fear of spreading the virus to other lands.

I appreciate that you didn’t let COVID keep you from your research. There is so much available information out there without traveling to a location. I love how immersed you get in your research. Can’t wait to read The Promise Keeper. We authors often get a germ of an idea that evolves from there. What inspired you to write your book?

I’m not a big chick-flick fan, but I have my favorites—Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, and Kate Beckinsale in Serendipity. In fact, it was Serendipity that made me start thinking, what if? There’s something charming about destiny bringing two people together, yet it’s even more exciting if the God who created us has a special someone in mind for us, and He brings us together in creative ways. That’s the essence of the providence of God. So I started thinking: What if God had two Americans who live far apart meet up in another country? Since they’d eventually return to their own homes, they’d have to make plans to meet up sometime in the future. Wales came to mind. I don’t know why because I’ve never been there, but since choosing Wales, I’ve fallen in love with the country and have been studying Welsh, which is a daunting language.

Wow! What a wonderful premise. Thank you so much for giving us a peek into your writing process and your upcoming novella.

A bit more about my guest:

Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance, and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passion is traveling to the settings of her books, sampling the food, and visiting the sites. Sadly, her research for The Promise Keeper trip to Wales and London was canceled due to COVID, but she did visit Atlanta, and she’s still learning Welsh for a future visit. A recent widow, Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her lazy dog, Lily, and her son, Joshua, who can fix anything. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and pix in her newsletter. Subscribe at http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9

A giveaway- who doesn’t love those.

 Sherri will do a giveaway of The Promise Keeper. Leave a comment here on teh blog for a chance to win. She’ll choose a winner on Friday to receive either a paperback or e-book copy.

Link for The Promise Keeper: https://amzn.to/2Y07QP0

 

Connect with Sherri Stewart

https://www.amazon.com/author/sherristewart/ 

https://www.facebook.com/sherristewartauthor/

https://twitter.com/machere

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/758893.Sherri_Stewart

www.stewartwriting.com

https://www.instagram.com/stewart_sherri/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherri-stewart

 

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Show some love, do a book review

We all have our favorite authors, favorite genre, even favorite plot lines. Yet how many of us write reviews when we finish a book. I try hard to write reviews for every book I read. Sometimes I’m an epic fail. Book reviews don’t have to be very long. I’m not sure how many people take the time to read a long one. I know I don’t. Often we are intimidated by those professional sounding reviews that talk about things like POV. All authors need reviews. It shows publishers that the author has fans. It helps the author get noticed. Amazon gives them more screen time if the reviews reach the key levels of 50 and 100.

Your review can be a few lines, a few words even.

I loved the story.

This is my favorite author. This book did not disappoint.

I love Mail Order Bride stories, and this was delightful.

The characters were so real.

I dreamt about the story and what was going to happen next with the characters.

You don’t have to give a 4 or 5-star review. Sometimes 2 stars reviews can help with sales too.

I prefer the bedroom door closed. (Someone else might like it open.)

The story world was so weird. (another sale to those who love weird.)

I wish I’d read the first book in the series then things might have made more sense. (Possible series sale.)

Each of these comments is short but lets the author know why you gave it a lower rating.

If you are worried about typos

Amazon and Goodreads catch them and highlight so you can correct them before you post it.

The authors you love have a better chance to get more contracts with lots of reviews.

Show some love by praising their work for others to read.

It only takes a few minutes of your time to write one. I posted six this week. None of them are more than a paragraph. And two of the books were 2-stars.

It’s your opinion

Reviews are opinions and everyone has different expectations of what they want in a book. Romance readers have a hot-o-meter when it comes to sexual tension. Historical readers want accuracy in setting and culture. Fantasy and otherworldly fans may gravitate toward specific characters ie.. vampires, aliens, or shapeshifters. All of these expectations determine the kind of review the reader will give.

Some readers are afraid if they give a negative review the author may respond with angry comments. Most authors don’t. As I said reviews are opinions and an author who isn’t thick-skinned enough to handle a less than stellar review without waging a war against the commenter probably should find another profession.

Writers, do you post reviews of books you read?

No. Do you claim you don’t have time? You had time to read it. Use the review writing as an opportunity to warm up your brain for the projects you’re creating. Besides if you write reviews, those authors may return the favor.  And I am going to pretend there are no authors out there who never read. Writing reviews should be part of your marketing strategy. It shows you are part of the reading community. And readers love to talk about books.

No need to write a new review for each book sale site

Everyone can cut and paste the same review on Amazon, Goodreads, Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and any other site where you buy books. It’s especially helpful to post reviews directly on the publisher’s website.

Please, please, please write reviews.

 

 

Great Summer Reads to add to your TBR pile

As always I’m feeding my reading addiction. Last week I mentioned closing books that were poorly written. Let me share some that kept me engaged from page one and did it all right IMHO. Here are a few new books I recommend you add to your TBR pile.

This first one is a historical romance set in WWI. I loved it because the author captured the cultural and historical time period so well. Loosely based on her own grandparents’ love story Patti Stockwell made Three Little Things feel oh so warm and inviting while at the same time giving the reader a realistic view of what wartime both at home and abroad was like.

Wartime Romance

Three Little Things  buy link 

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.

Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.

One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

A Crime Suspense

Tom Threadgill is a new author to me. I had a chance to grab a ARC copy Collision of Lies and was totally engaged. The twists in the plot were so unique to any other crime suspense I have read in the past. I’m always impressed when a man can write a female character that doesn’t act and sound like a man. Maya is a clever, ambitious Hispanic female. I also appreciate that there is no swearing. Yep, a cop drama where the police are tough without tossing out unnecessary curse words. They still come across as tough guys.

Collision of Lies buy link

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she’s correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others–and herself–that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy lives. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.

Novella Collection

Courting Calamity  buy link

My last recommendation is a historical romance novella collection Courting Calamity. Some novellas feel incomplete when you reach the end of the required word count. But not these four. There is so much realism and history in each story. And the focus of each is different.  They are in chronological order by time period spanning thirty years.

Lady and the Tramps by Jennifer Uhlarik has a lot of suspense as a Wells Fargo Agents helps a lovely woman who is the guardian of eight orphan children while he pursues the men who robbed the train. All the clues that were carefully laid out to get the reader to the end of the story are mixed with well-research historical accuracy. The epilogue is sigh worthy.

The Second Hand Bride of Polecat Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo was a fun read. Again the story is historically accurate and full of interesting characters.  By the time Zeke and Lizzy get together the small town of Polecat Creek has warmed your heart.

The Bride of Basswood Hill by Gabrielle Meyer

The author decided to write the story of Alex, the one who didn’t get the girl, from The Tale of Two Hearts novella in the Of Rags to Riches novella collection. This is a marriage of convenience story matching a wealthy man with a poor Italian immigrant. Taking places in 1900 Minnesota the setting is beautiful and the characters are compelling. Add a few surprises twists and continuous page-turning is inevitable.

Echoes of the Heart by Amanda Barrett takes place in New York City in 1909. This is a tale of poor immigrant factory workers who find love in the midst of union riots and unbelievable circumstances. This is not your typical romantic setting. The twists in the plot are based on actual historical accounts while Aileen and Lorenzo are fictitious.  After reading the final word I had mixed emotions. I was happy for the couple but the historical events made me sad.

Heroes Needed for Four Damsels in Distress

Despite determination to be strong and independent, four women of bygone days are in need of a hero.
 
Lady and the Tramps by Jennifer Uhlarik
California, 1874
When outlaws steal a deed from Mattie Welling, her dreams for her eight orphan charges from New York City are dashed. Can Wells Fargo detective Jake Hickens be trusted to pick up the pieces?

The Secondhand Bride of Polecat Creek by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Texas, 1890
When Zeke Wyatt returns home to Polecat Creek intent on making good on his promise to marry his childhood sweetheart, he finds she’s run off in his absence, leaving her kid sister to care for her aging parents and the mercantile. Can Zeke finally settle down, or will he leave another sister with a broken heart?

The Bride of Basswood Hill by Gabrielle Meyer
Minnesota, 1900
When wealthy lumber baron, Charles Alexander, unexpectedly finds himself married to an Italian immigrant, Sofia Bellini, he must do all he can to protect her from the society she’s ill-prepared to navigate. But when he falls in love with his pretty bride, he will have to make a difficult choice: will he go through with the annulment they had planned?

Echoes of the Heart by Amanda Barratt
New York City, 1911
Irish immigrant Aileen O’Connor is willing to work to survive in the land of opportunity. But when her sister is accosted on the streets, she’s forced to accept the help of policeman Sean Doyle, a widower with a young son. When tragedy engulfs the city, will Sean and Aileen’s newfound love survive the raging flames?

My Writing Rant: Don’t make me trip over mistakes

Believable characters keep the reader turning pages.

I’m on a rant today. As I’ve mentioned before I love to read. I’m addicted to reading. But what I don’t like is being disappointed. Yeah, a plot can be disappointing, or characters can become blah. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The thing that drives me crazy is opening a novel and tripping over lots of amateur mistakes. Things that should have been fixed long before the publish button was pushed. I’ll admit that I’m a bit blind to my own mistakes. Okay, a lot blind. I need my critique partners, editors, and my Grammar Nazi husband to help me see what I don’t. When I read other authors’ works those same mistakes are glaring.

Some examples

Double word typos like the the.

Wrong tenses

No: He focuses on the past.

Yes: He focused on the past.

Lots and lots of backstory dump.

And the one oh so important thing. POV. If the scene or chapter is written from Sally’s point of view, she can’t describe her face. As the reader, you are looking through her eyes. And, you can’t know what the other character is thinking unless Sally is a mind reader.

It is easy to add a beat that is in the wrong POV. For example, Sally knew Mark was hurting from his past relationship.  How can she know at that moment he is hurting? If Mark turns away, changes the subject or fidgets with his keys when he sees his ex, then Sally would know or guess.

Don’t do it

My rant today is don’t publish that book until it has been thoroughly edited. Make sure it’s been through critique groups, proofreaders, beta readers, and your local grammar expert. Then do the rewrites and corrections, and run it through again. Three or more edits are not uncommon. The cleaner your manuscript the more satisfied the reader will be because they aren’t jerked out of the story due to amateur errors on your part.

Self-published work should shine

For those of you who self-publish, it is even more important that your work is stellar. Self-publication has been labeled something that publishers don’t want. It’s probably not true, but typos, grammar errors, and POV confusion will make the reader feel that way.

Help is available

If you don’t know who to contact ask other authors who they use. Be willing to pay top dollar for those edits. There are lots of books, blogs, vlogs, and websites on every aspect of writing and editing.  Learn about POV and how to sprinkle your character’s backstory throughout the novel rather than dumping it at the beginning of the chapter that introduces your newest character. Bleh!

Writing a novel is hard work and learning the craft is even more so. Don’t get in a hurry to get your book out there. Take the time to make it shine. End of rant.

What is a glaring error that pulls you out of a story?

 

 

 

From Captivity to Freedom-Author Gail Porter

Gail Porter’s new release addresses a subject we all struggle with, rejection. she’s here today to share her writing journey and a bit about herself. Welcome, Gail.

Let’s start with how you began your writing journey toward publication.

The opportunity to become a serious writer opened up when I timidly joined the Orlando Chapter of Word Weavers International. Having the chance to know this encouraging group of writers and sit in a critique group each month improved my writing and built my confidence to create non-fiction articles and books.

Participating in the annual Central Florida Christian Writers Conferences also gave me the chance to sit in on professional workshops and make appointments with editors, publishers, and agents to pitch my current manuscript. The conferences honed my writing skills and paved the way to become a published author.

I love Word Weavers. I wouldn’t be published today without the critque help. I learned so much. So, tell us about your newest project.

My latest book is Will the Real Person Please Stand Up: Rising Above the Fear of Rejection. God’s direction to write this book about the fear of rejection took me by surprise. Most of my adult life I’d been unaware that this devastating fear ruled my life. Through writing this book, I learned a lot about myself. Isn’t that often what happens to us writers?

Absolutely true. What kind of research did you do?

Writing this book thrust me into a deep search for what my early childhood was like. From my adult perspective, there was no reason why a fear or rejection had evolved. Yet, a trusted counselor and a friend gifted in the healing of our pasts, helped me see with child’s eyes. I made crucial discoveries and uncovered buried memories that helped shed light on how I felt in those days: sad, lonely, unimportant, and unloved. For the first time in my life, I realized that my parents’ inability to create a loving connection had left me with unfulfilled longings for their love and acceptance.

Wow, I’m impressed with your willingness to share your heart with us.

Fear of rejection had ruled my life and my lack of love and acceptance fueled my efforts to try to be the person everyone else wanted me to be. I built many emotional defenses against rejection, which served to only keep me alone and isolated from people. Realizing this truth gave me the courage to come out of hiding and let God tear down my defenses so I could walk on His path of freedom. Because of my journey, I am passionate about helping others escape captivity and experience freedom to be all God created them to be.

What a powerful ministry, Gail.  Now let me ask a few questions I always ask my blog guests.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

While attending one of the Central Florida Christian Writers Conferences, the keynote speaker looked over the audience of perhaps 400 people and made a declaration that became a turning point in my life. He said, “If you write, you are a writer.” Accepting that truth, freed me to write with confidence and share His words so that readers could know about Him and His plan for their lives.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

While writing my book, Galatians 5:1 became my theme verse: “It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” I became a slave to my fear of rejection and hid behind an invisible wall and emotional masks to protect myself from rejection. God rescued me from my life of slavery so I could experience the freedom Jesus died to give me. I need to stand firm in this freedom and never become enslaved again.  

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Be myself. Write what God lays on my heart and trust that He will use my words to help change the lives of readers. I am uniquely designed, so I have no reason to compete with anyone else.

Where is your favorite place to write?

If you visited me, you’d find me writing at my dining room table, in front of two patio doors, where I can look out and see foliage of every kind, colorful flowers, and many Florida birds. Writing for hours is not a problem for me, because each time I lift my head from my computer, this scenery refreshes me and gives me an outward view.

 Sounds lovely and inspiring.

More about Gail Porter

Gail Porter is an inspirational author, speaker and workshop leader. She spent fifty years serving with Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. as well as in the Philippines. She’s had extensive experience in speaking at women’s conferences in many countries. Gail is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and Word Weavers International (WWI.)  Her latest book, Will the Real Person Please Stand Up: Rising Above the Free of Rejection, highlights her passion to help those who struggle with the fear of rejection know how to escape captivity and experience freedom to be all God created them to be.

Gail lives in Orlando, Florida. In addition to writing and speaking, she enjoys ballroom dancing and her favorite role as aunt to her nieces and nephews.

Visit Gail’s Website to learn more about her books and to request her to speak. Follow her Blog and  connect with her on Facebook: gail.porter.731.

Grab a copy of Gail’s books.

Links to her books:

Will the Real Person Please Stand Up?    Amazon Link Redemption Press Link  Barnes & Noble Link

Life Through Loss     Amazon Link  Barnes & Noble Link

 

Click here to take the Fear of Rejection Quiz.

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About the Book

Will the Real Person Please Stand Up? Rising Above the Fear of Rejection offers hope to those who long to be set free from the fear of rejection. In this life-changing book you will read Gail’s own experiences, stories of real people, and input from those in the medical field. You will learn how to identify and acknowledge the defenses you’ve built that keep you isolated and alone. Gail helps you escape captivity and experience freedom to be all God created you to be. She knows from personal experience the devastation that comes from choosing bondage instead of freedom. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter make this an easy book to study in a small-group setting.

If you want to keep discovering more new releases and writerly things please subscribe to Jubilee Writer before you leave. Please and thank you.

Cindy

A Resource to Help You Choose the Right Job for Your Character + Giveaway

Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share…a special chance to win some help with your writing bills. Awesome, right?

Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!

Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles…or bringing you joy and helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)

GIVEAWAY ALERT: THE WRITER’S SHOWCASE

To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles for Your Characters

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.

Happy writing to all!

 A note from Cindy

I love this Thesaurus and all the others I have from this wonderful team of writers. Grab a copy- you will not regret it.

Rebuilding an Author Brand After an Absence

Norma Gail is an inspiration to me and I asked her to share her story. Perhaps you will be inspired to press forward toward your publishing dreams.

Rebuilding an author brand after an absence is as difficult as building your brand in the first place. It takes persistence to gain recognition of a tagline or phrase synonymous with what you write. Silence for a long time period causes name recognition to be lost.

 

My brand went silent from July 2018 through January of 2020. I had four major surgeries in the space of two years. The death of my mother, moving an elderly aunt and uncle to a care facility near me, my aunt’s death, and the sale of both homes along with changed family dynamics overwhelmed me.

 

These life-changing events destroyed all desire and motivation to promote my first book, Land of My Dreams, or maintain my blog schedule. At the same time, my husband moved his office home, our son moved in. As I began to gain recognition again, the COVID crisis led to my husband’s retirement and uncertain book sales. Life as I knew it ceased to exist.

 

My two brands, 2MefromHim Devotionals and Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit vanished from daily social media. There are seasons to be gentle with ourselves. I finished the blogs I had scheduled and walked away. What I write is written for God. What I become is up to God. What is important is to cling to God.

 

I discovered that to edit and rewrite my book in progress was therapeutic. The familiarity of my characters and their story ministered to my heart. God allowed my own fiction to refresh my spirit.

My social media presence consisted of shared scripture and memes that ministered to my heart. While my following on Facebook increased, my other social media accounts lay quiet.

That book was rejected. Challenges in my personal life damaged my confidence. However, someone believed in my story and offered to publish Within Golden Bands. With a miracle from God, I’m now a hybrid author. The royalties revert to me when the publisher is paid back. I learned from the criticism and rewrote entire sections. During a recent promotion, it remained in the top spot in three Amazon categories for three days.

 

The brand still suffers. COVID has changed everyone’s marketing and social media. I don’t receive the comments I did formerly on my blog. Land of My Dreams recovered well.

 

I have no secret to share. Look for opportunities. Trust God to create and recreate your brand. Make pleasing Him your aim. He is faithful.

 

© Norma Gail Holtman, June 26, 2020

Author bio:

Norma Gail’s debut novel, Land of My Dreams, won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. Within Golden Bands releases May 19th. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals have appeared in several publications. She lives in New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

 

 

Book Links:

 

 

Thank you so much for this. Life does sidetrack us but He is faithful to get us back on track in His time.